A few things that have helped me tackle writer’s block.
We writers are a bit of a “special breed”, but I feel like we kind of understand each other.
Often we write because the voices in our head won’t be quiet. Our minds are frequently bombarded with ideas 24/7. Literally. Unfortunately our brains don’t switch off just because we’re sleeping. Sometimes the best ideas emerge in the middle of the night, and if you don’t write them down you’ll probably forget it by morning. Running errands isn’t safe either. Most likely you’ll see something intriguing while you’re out and about, and an entire script will write itself in your brain or, like I mentioned, the voices in your head will just start talking to each other.
For me, it’s loading the dishwasher. For some confounded reason, nothing stimulates my creative spirit like placing dirty dishes into racks. Sadly, some of my favorite ideas have been lost because I couldn’t finish fast enough to write it all down before forgetting. If only I’d been blessed with verbatim memory. *sigh*
But if that were my only problem, I’d still be very blessed indeed. What happens when the imagination goes utterly blank?
Figure out what’s holding you back.
Whether you write fiction or nonfiction, poetry or musings or blog posts, you write because you have something to offer and share with the world. It’s imperative you believe that first and foremost. You wouldn’t have that itching desire if it weren’t true.
Sometimes it’s just plain fear. We tend to be our own worst critics. And let’s be honest, publishing your thoughts (and essentially your heart) for the world to see is completely terrifying! Especially when you’re feeling like you have nothing worthy to write about. But Dr. Seuss would say “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.” Don’t fall into a rut of not believing in yourself. If it seems like no one is reading your work anyway, it may just be a matter of reaching the right audience. But that’s another post entirely.
But when it comes to writer’s block, I’ve found a few tools and ideas that help get the words flowing (gushing, even).
Write It Down
To start off with the obvious, write down every single idea that you have. No matter how lame it seems, write it down. You may not write a whole post or story on every single idea, but trust me, you’ll be able to incorporate most of them. Whether it’s a picture, a quote, a profound thought, or even a good metaphor! Write. It. Down.
Everyone does this differently. Some people use apps, some insist on old fashioned pen and paper. Since I usually have my phone close, the fastest way for me to do this is to open the notes app and type my thoughts out quickly in there. Then (if I want to blog about it) I’ll log into my website and put all of my ideas that pertain to each specific subject in a draft. Once I’ve gathered information on a topic in one place, I can keep adding thoughts and ideas and begin fleshing it out. And I also tend to research each topic, just to add as much value as I possibly can, before I publish it.
Fill A Need
Another sure-fire way to come up with good writing ideas is to address a need. As Zig Ziglar said, “There are eight basic things people want. People want to be happy, healthy, reasonably prosperous and secure; they want to have friends, peace of mind, good family relationships and hope.” If you can address any one or more of these needs (which is very likely if you think about it), then you have a plethora of writing ideas at your disposal.
Remember that you are a unique person with your own set of personal experiences and knowledge to draw from. You don’t necessarily have to be an “expert”, just be open minded. And remember that it’s perfectly legitimate to “create” a need. Much of the time people don’t know that they need to read something until they’re reading it, as the saying goes.
Be aware of what’s going into your head. It is so important and so many people don’t take this seriously enough. People are always saying you can’t pour from an empty cup. That’s true. But is pouring from a cup full of negativity and filth any better? If you want to put good stuff out there, then you need to put good stuff in first. Humans seem to not be very good at doing this naturally, so it has to be be intentional. Make it a priority to consume things that are “…true, noble, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy.” ~Philippians 4:8 (abbreviated)
This point also includes taking care of yourself. I think self care looks different for everyone, but we all know the basics: eat well, sleep enough, spend time with loved ones, spend time with yourself, give back, etc…
Finally, if it’s lack of motivation that has you stumped, I feel ya! I think the very most important thing you could possibly do is to just start writing. Seriously, just write something, anything that comes to mind. An object at rest stays at rest, and an object in motion stays in motion. So true when it comes to writing. One time I sat down at the kitchen table and literally started describing how my cat was watching a bug on the window. Obviously I wasn’t writing anything particularity life changing, but it felt good and it sparked my creativity and momentum. You just need to start!
Once you get momentum, your pen (or keyboard) will be on fire.